B.C. raising minimum wage to over $15 per hour by June

B.C. raising minimum wage to over $15 per hour by June

The B.C. government has announced that the lowest-paid workers in the province are set to get a boost as the general minimum wage will be increasing next month.

Starting June 1, the minimum wage in British Columbia is set to increase to $15.20 an hour. At the same time, the Province also will be eliminating the lower discriminatory minimum wage for liquor servers as well.

“In 2017, our government made a commitment to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by June 2021, through regular, measured and predictable increases,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “As of tomorrow, we will have achieved – and surpassed – that goal, making sure workers who need regular and fair wage increases are getting them.”

Including the latest increase, the general minimum wage in British Columbia has risen from $11.35 to $15.20 per hour over the past four years and the government says that it has benefited close to 400,000 British Columbians in that span — the majority of whom are women, immigrants and youth.

As of June 1, the minimum wage will jump from $14.60 per hour to the new mark of $15.20 per hour.

June 1 will also mark the end of the discriminatory lower minimum wage for B.C. liquor servers, which the Province says disproportionally affects women.

“About 80 per cent of liquor servers are women, and the low liquor wage is a clear example of the gender pay gap we are fighting to eliminate,” said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary of Gender Equity. “Most minimum wage earners are women, often racialized women and newcomers who face barriers to accessing better-paying jobs. We need to work towards wages that workers can actually live on instead of being held back by.”

The liquor server minimum wage, which was set at $13.95 an hour, will be replaced with the general minimum wage of $15.20 an hour.

B.C. now has a minimum wage that is the highest of any province across the country, according to the government.

Additionally, starting next year, the Province notes that future increases for minimum wage will be tied to inflation.

“The minimum wage going up makes a huge difference for my family and my co-workers. Every year things go up in cost: groceries, bills and the rent. If the minimum wage doesn’t increase, how are we supposed to survive? I see the positive difference it makes in my life very personally,” said Alfiya Ishak, who has worked in the cleaning industry for 22 years.

The Province says that in 2020, 12 per cent of employees in B.C. (244,900) earned less than $15.20 an hour.

READ MORE: B.C. Legislature, City of Nanaimo lower flags in memory of Kamloops residential school victims

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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